AJ-G THE DAMBUSTERS  (617 Squadron)

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Upkeep: Dream To Reality

Fortunately for Wallis, higher powers were gathering in support for his weapon. Three days after giving his resignation to Craven, he was asked to attend a meeting with all the top figures including Air Chief Marshal Portal and Lancaster designer Roy Chadwick. Much to Cravens anger, Upkeep was given the go ahead.
Avro, producers of the Lancaster were told to give priority to producing aircraft modified to accommodate the weapon and Vickers likewise with Upkeep. Portal told them he wanted 150 weapons. Wallis was delighted with the faith in project but there was little time to get it all into place and into action.

Air Chief Marshal Portal
Air Chief Marshal Portal

In order for maximum effect, the dams would have to be attacked when the water levels in the lakes were at their highest. This time would be about the middle of May which was only three months from the time Upkeep was given the go ahead. If the attacks were any later than May 26th the raid would have to be postponed until the following year (1944).

To allow time for training and testing of Upkeep, the aircraft and weapon would have to be ready and delivered no later than May 1st. Wallis, Chadwick and the developers had only 8 weeks in which to perfect Upkeep, build it, design and construct carrying arms and the mechanism to release it, modify the Lancasters and find and train the crews to fly the mission. This was no easy task, bearing in mind it was estimated that packing the explosives into the drums in Upkeep would take three weeks alone.

Chadwick said that it would be a miracle if they managed to achieve their goals and make Chastise operational in the available time. He promised to give his best to make it happen and Wallis was very grateful to his rival aircraft designer.


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